Jenna Veenstra

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Cedar Falls, Iowa

The Story

Scholarships I Received 

  • Presidential Scholarship
  • Distinguished Scholar 
  • Music Scholarship
  • Kuyper Honors Program Grant 

Favorite Spot On Campus

The corner table of the Grille with a view of the whole area.

Favorite Class

Introduction to Biochemistry

A Concept That Blew My Mind

In Biochemistry, we learned about how hemoglobin works, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood. We learned about a single mutation in the gene for hemoglobin that leads to sickle cell anemia. What blew my mind was how one small change can affect the structure of hemoglobin so much that it can cause the rupture of blood cells.

Cool Things I Did At Dordt

I did a lot of music while at Dordt. I played flute for the freshman talent show as well as one year for TX. I was also able to go on many spring break and Christmas tours with the band or choir. Most recently, the band got to go on tour in Europe, which was a lot of fun to see and participate in a different culture. I was also able to give a music recital on flute and piccolo where I played a duet with my brother (bassoon) and my mom (piccolo). Other than music, I also participated in the Swing dance club, which is a great way to unwind.

Obstacles I've Overcome

I came in not knowing for sure what major(s) I wanted to be. I went through many variations of math, biology, chemistry, and statistics. However, after taking the introduction to biochemistry class Spring of my sophomore year, I realized that I loved biochemistry. Since biochemistry isn't yet a major at Dordt, I took the summer to create my own major and was finally able to find a major that fit my interests. Of course, I still kept a couple of minors.

Who I Was When I Came To DordT

I was quite nervous about finding my place at Dordt. I hadn't yet decided what path I wanted to follow. However, it was the built-in community at Dordt that helped make me feel at home as time went on. 

How Dordt Impacted Me

I do believe that Dordt has had an impact. Coming from public school (with some homeschooling), it was refreshing how integrated faith was in my education. With that in my background now, I am more aware of all the connections to faith my work can have. It's not that I didn't see these connections before Dordt, but I am more intentional about finding them.

Where I Am Now 

I am currently attending the University of Michigan to get my PhD in Biological Chemistry. That should take up my time for the next 5-6 years. At that point, I will most likely head to a post-doc where I will continue doing research. However, there are many options for after graduate school, and I am still exploring. (Updated 2/25/19)

What I Would Tell Prospective Students 

It's very cliche to talk about community, but Dordt really does have a great community. Being several months out from graduation, I can say that I do miss Dordt's community. Dordt is a place where you can create meaningful relationships not only with your peers but also with your professors. Having such close relationships with your professors and especially with your mentors means you can get more personalized education. During my years at Dordt, I was able to meet one-on-one with professors because their doors were always open. During these meetings, conversation was not limited to just school work; they could be about what books we thought the other should read or debates about theology or science (and many times both).

How Dordt Helped Me Do More

The research opportunities I had at Dordt has definitely helped me get to where I am now. Through my biostatistics research with Dr. Tintle, I was and still am getting papers published which is rare for undergraduates. Usually, undergrads are the grunt workers in labs at bigger schools because they would be working for grad students or post-docs. Since Dordt is primarily an undergraduate college, I was able to take on projects and make them my own. I learned about the process of writing a paper and submitting it to a journal. I was able to go to a variety of conferences (where I was usually one of the few undergrads) and be a part of the research community as a whole. These are the types of things that graduate schools are looking for in an applicant. Thus, Dordt has helped me in my path towards graduate school and beyond.